Do It! If Not Immediately Then Very Soon

I read a lot; almost none of it is poetry. Yet today I will conclude by quoting a poet. Why? Because she perfectly sums up the situation President Biden and the Senate Democrats find themselves confronted with.

I have gone from opposed to, reluctantly in favor of and now screaming for the complete elimination of the Senate filibuster. In the long run I may well rue it but we have to get there first. Under the current rules almost all legislation is held hostage to gaining 60 votes in the Senate for passage. With a 50-50 Senate and the Mitch McConnell led Republicans mainly playing the role of obstructionists that is impossible in almost all cases; certainly for any progressive legislation. With the current Senate less than 100 days old it is glaringly apparent that a breakout of bipartisanship in the interest of the American people is as likely as me being the opening day stating pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The voting is yet to take place but the Democrats can’t get 60 votes for COVID relief and are being forced to use the reconciliation process to pass it with what I assume will be a vote total in the low 50s. (I could see a GOP defection or three but even that is not a certainty. Vice President Harris may have to break a 50-50 tie. Just hope no Democratic Senator meets with an untimely demise in the very near future.)

The Senate reconciliation rule can only be used once a budget. This year the Senate will technically approve two budgets so it can be used twice (assuming the subject matter stays within the rules). The current word is that the Democrats will use it for COVID relief and then for an infrastructure package. This means things like protecting voting and civil rights along with immigration reform and a higher minimum wage will die in process. These are both moral and political costs that Democrats simply cannot accept!

Morally, (and right wingers who are monitoring me today can skip this paragraph because it will be irrelevant to you), voting should be as easy as possible while remaining secure and encouraged, not suppressed. Anybody who works 40 hours a week in America should earn a living wage. This country was built on immigrants and needs them to survive, let alone thrive. We should endeavor to open our arms to people not build inane and ineffective walls in an effort to keep them out. I could go on but you either get the idea by now or this part of my endeavor is futile.

Politically how do Democrats go back to the voters and tell them that despite having the White House along with the majorities in both chambers of Congress (albeit in the Senate by the thinnest of possible margins) that they couldn’t get anything done? Voters don’t want to hear about what they consider technicalities; they want results. Looking at the current political climate and map there is no way the electorate is simultaneously going to give either party the White House and super majorities in both chambers. I could see the Democrats picking up a few Senate seats in 2022 and perhaps even a few House seats but both are way too early to predict and the number(s), if they happen, will be small. History tells us the Democrats will lose seats but recent American history has been unique. Here is the political bottom line: Either the Democrats show the voters significant productivity in the 2022 election or risk minority party status in both chambers.

If you are waiting for a Republican epiphany, you are a fool. If they won’t cooperate on needed COVID relief what makes you think their agenda is anything other than obstruction and damn the torpedoes? They are literally willing to kill Americans including many of their voters rather than made Biden and the Democrats look successful. They are relying on the racism of much of their base to vote for them anyway. That strategy has been reasonably successful for them in recent years and in many districts/states almost foolproof.

I’m still old fashioned and have no problem with the wheeling and dealing of politics. I see nothing wrong with “buying” congressional votes by including a wanted (and not wasteful) project in a bill. What bill is more conducive to that type of horse trading than infrastructure? Isn’t there always a bridge or interchange that is needed or in need of repair or replacement? Yet the Democrats are seriously contemplating using reconciliation for an infrastructure package because they fear they cannot even “buy” 10 GOP votes. Too many Republican Senators will literally risk killing a needed project in their state rather than cooperate/compromise. Whatever happened to being a public servant?

The Democrats have to stop wasting time and kill the Senate filibuster immediately or in very short order. It can be done at any time and all it takes is a simple majority even if that majority is a 51-50 Kamala Harris aided vote.

“When somebody shows you who they are believe them the first time.” -Maya Angelou

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